On tar sands, politicians, pipelines and greed.

If you like how you have been ripped off on gasoline prices, you have to love the Alberta tar sands exploiters. Whether corporate or political, these are the same people who have been lying to you for years. And, like it or not folks, the bastards are winning.

There are just too many pipeline strategies at play for an ecologist to track or to fight. It hardly matters the tragedy that Enbridge caused near Kalamazoo, Michigan a couple years ago. People forget, unless you live there.

And what is the difference between Kinder Morgan and Northern Gateway in British Columbia? Is Northern Gateway just the stalking horse for the Kinder Morgan plan? After all, the first stage of the Kinder Morgan route is in place from Edmonton to Burnaby—now they just want to triple the volumes.

Did you know that experts for the pipeline people have testified that bitumen slurry from the tar sands is lighter than water and therefore floats? Those living along the Kalamazoo River in Michigan can probably point out that the bitumen, as would any form of asphalt, eventually separates from the slurry and sinks.

The one excellent use for bitumen is to pave highways. And these roads are not gold as your Alberta politicians think. Alberta’s Premier Alison Redford is weeping buckets these days because the tar sands exploiters are getting ripped off by the Americans who have adequate supply and are not as committed to buying that bitumen. Would you want to refine gunk that pollutes about three times as much and costs more to convert into gasoline or heating oil?

We would never want anyone to freeze in the dark but Canadians from outside Alberta probably expect Albertans will eventually pay taxes like the rest of the country.

Can you believe that New Brunswick Premier David Alward actually thinks the Irving Refineries in Saint John will want to refine bitumen sent through reversed pipelines from Alberta? Those pipelines are to be used at high temperature and under high pressure to get that bitumen slurry to sea ports where it can be shipped to the markets that will pay for it. It will work—as long as the pipelines last!

And then there is the conundrum of poor President Obama. The guy is listening to pleadings from the Canadian government to okay the damn Keystone XL pipeline to the Texas coast where bitumen can be shipped to countries that do not care about pollution. What is a guy to do when a good neighbour pleads? And if he rejects the TransCanada Pipelines bid, there is always the Enbridge back-up route through Illinois as an alternative. As Mr. Obama can tell you: it is tough to care about the environment!

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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